The list of inexpensive electronic instruments you can have for a little bit of change continues to grow. The Saw Bench, now on Kickstarter, is a 100% analog monosynth. You get one voice, one oscillator with modulation, in a box with some hands-on control via knobs and MIDI input (for notes and control).
It’s so nice, and so cheap, that I had to go talk to its creators to find out the whole story. And that lead to a nice chap from the Netherlands by the way of Pieter van der Meer.
I was especially confused about the price – at 100€ assembled, they’re more or less putting it together for free and charging you not much beyond their cost. So I asked about that, too. (Spoiler: this box is a calling card for them as makers – and what a nice calling card it appears to be!)
First, we saw midimux connect any MIDI app or hardware on your iOS device to any MIDI software or hardware connected to your Mac. Plus in a 30-pin or Lightning cable, run some software on each end, and connect anything. Then, we saw the promise of audiomux – doing the same thing for audio streams.
Now, audiomux is available on the App Store, not only individually, but as a bundle with midimux. (The developers initially asked midimux users to wait while that bundle became available, to avoid overspending.)
And, as all of this have unfolded, a number of videos and hands-on tests have demonstrated what it can do. Plus, there’s a new (competing) solution out for Windows users, too, so you don’t have to feel left out. Let’s get caught up.
Here’s a great video walkthrough of both midimux and audiomux by the folks at thesoundtestroom:
The future happens gradually — and then by the time you’re sequencing a Web browser using Rubik’s Cubes, you might barely notice.
But Sweden’s most inventive producer is back yet again with his latest novelty, this time turning one of the world’s best-selling toys (hundreds of millions of units) into a usable sequencer.
Håkan Lidbo (concept and sound design) teams up with Per-Olov Jernberg (programming & visual design) and Romeo Brahasteanu (game board). The clever conceit here is to swap black for one of the colors, thus creating a foreground and background. Make a 4×4 grid of these cubes of 4×4 each, and you have a very usable sequencer – in fact, one more flexible than a lot of hardware sequencers out there, I might add. (It also bears some resemblance to my favorite drum machine of the moment, iOS’ Elastic Drums.)
The design is simple. And the functionality, like other computer vision-powered sequencers, is reasonably straightforward. Continue reading »
Ever thought you’d play Space Invaders on your Maschine? You might.
It’s rough days for people who like standalone drum machine gear. Native Instruments’ Maschine is great in combination with software, but it turns into a brick when disconnected from a computer. The mighty Akai has followed suit, replacing their vaunted MPC with more accessories for your computer or iPad. This stuff is the dream of marketers: you get all-in-one hardware/software solutions. But when you want to cut the cord from your computer or go beyond the stock functionality, it’s another story.
One hack promises to turn all of that around. And it’s making progress. Continue reading »
Remember the days when we had “car phones” permanently mounted in our automobiles, and we listened to cassette tapes? Ha – how dated. Now, we do things properly: adding a Roland TR-606 and TB-303 to the dashboard so we can make acid while we drive.
No, I’m not entirely certain you want your insurance company to know about this. (Even less so if they’re unfamiliar of the usage of the word “acid” in this context.)
Via the Facebook page of muno.pl, the excellent Polish electronic music/club site.
When we designed MeeBlip anode, we tried to do more with less: make every knob and switch meaningful and musical.
Composer/musician and artist Robert Lippok invited us into his studio as he tried out those controls. Robert is really thoughtful about his approach to sound and control in my experience working with him, and so it was nice to get his feedback on our instrument. (If you don’t know Robert’s music, he is a Berlin native, a long-time member of the label raster noton, and a former member of the band To Rococo Rot.)
One by one, he demonstrates how these sound controls work. (This is just the default Pulse Width mode; there are more colors to access in the hidden wavetable mode.)
Our direct flash sale is over, but you can get MeeBlip anode right away – and support your local dealers – via our dealer network. That includes a number of stores that have done fantastic things to build the synth community, from the USA to Germany and beyond. It’s still available at a low cost: MeeBlip Dealers
Computation is everywhere – phones, tablets, watches (apparently), and yes, browsers in all of those places. And that computational power can be harnessed to completely distract you from doing real work in the office — um, I mean, make music.
“Acid Machine Beta” is a rather fun implementation of two synths and a drum machine, all running in your browser. The “Randomize” function alone should hook you for a bit. Beyond that, you get a decent complement of synth and percussion controls that could make a reasonable little groove. (Recording isn’t directly possible, but you could route audio from your browser to another app.)
I’ve tested the app in all the browsers I have here. Google Chrome/Chromium, as advertised, works best. Firefox is working, too, though UI activities can make sound skip. Safari is not functioning. It’s a start – maybe not enough to justify buying that new Google Chromebook Pixel, but a nice proof of concept.
If you want other stupidly-fun ways of accessing acid, we’ve got you covered. Continue reading »